Saving Images as JPEGs in GIMP

How to Save a JPEG File in GIMP

The default file format in GIMP is XCF, but this is only used for editing images within GIMP. When you've finished working on your image, you must convert it to a suitable standard format for use elsewhere. GIMP offers many different standard formats. The one you choose will depend on the type of image you've created and how you intend to use it.

One option is to save to a JPEG format, which is popular for saving photo-type images. One of the great things about JPEGs is their ability to use compression to reduce file sizes, which can be convenient when you want to email a photo or send it via your cellphone. It should be noted, however, that the quality of JPEG images is typically reduced as compression is increased. Quality loss can be significant when high levels of compression are applied. It will be particularly apparent when someone zooms in on the image. 

If it's a JPEG file you need, these steps to save images in this format are pretty straightforward. 

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Save the Image

Go to the File menu and click on either the "Save As" or "Save a Copy" command. The "Save a Copy" command keeps the XCF file open within GIMP while saving an additional version of the image as a JPEG file. You can click on "Select File Type" to open the list of available file types in the dialog that opens. Then scroll down and click on "JPEG Image" before clicking the Save button.

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Export File Dialog

The Export File dialog will now open if your original file has more than one layer or contains transparency. You can usually just click the Export button and leave any optional settings set to the default.

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Save as JPEG Dialog

The "Quality" slider defaults to 85, but you can adjust this up or down to reduce or increase compression. Clicking on the "Show Preview in Image" window checkbox displays the size of the JPEG using the current Quality settings. It may take a few moments for this figure to update after you adjust the slider. This also opens a preview of the image with the compression applied so you make sure that the image quality is acceptable before you save it. You may have to manually select the preview image so you can see the effects.

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Advanced Options

You can expand the "Advanced Options" settings. Most users can leave these settings just as they are, but if your JPEG image is large and you intend to use it on the web, the "Progressive" checkbox will make the JPEG seem to display more quickly because it comes in at a lower initial quality setting. This is also known as interlacing. It's used less often these days with faster internet speeds.

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It's quite straightforward to save images as JPEGs in GIMP, and the application offers a wide range of more advanced settings for those who like a greater degree of control when they're saving their images.